When we moved from Canada to Australia four years ago, we got rid of many of our belongings. We had four full bookcases of theological books that we did not want to move across the world. Many of them were 30 years out of date. Many were duplicates- what with two ministers in the household. We got rid of warm winter clothing. Who needed that in a city that has never ever seen frost? And we got rid of numerous tchotchkes that meant something once but now they were just taking up precious cargo space. We vowed never to collect so much stuff again.
Four years later, we found ourselves moving back to Canada. We did not collect as many things. But still there were tough decisions that had to be made about our belongings. What would we deem important enough to take with us? What would we see as important enough to go into our few shipping boxes? What in our belongings was good enough to give to friends? What could be given to Vinnie's? What merely had to be thrown out? Even though we had not accumulated too much, it was still surprising how much stuff we have. Lots went to Vinnie's and lots was chucked. We still had too much stuff.
I admit it. I do like to buy things. Yes I do follow a budget and yes I am debt free. However when I see a shirt that catches my eye, I like to buy it. My electronics are all less than 3 years old. I am not a shopping addict, but I know I get a bit of a thrill when I buy. My enjoyment of shopping is tempered however by the knowledge that people work in sweat shops producing the clothes that I wear and that overconsumption is one of the causes of global warming.
I also realise that one only needs a certain numbers of each item of clothing. I need a clergy shirt or two for work (for weddings and funerals), a few shirts that are suitable for days in the office, and a couple of casual shirts for mucking around in. Same with pants. I need a few pairs for work and a couple of casual ones. Until our belongings arrive by ship sometime between Hallowe'en and New Year's, my wardrobe will be more modest. Other than winter wear which is an absolute must addition to my wardrobe, maybe I won't buy as many clothes, or things for the bathroom or kitchen. Maybe, I can live more simply.
That seems to be the crux of the matter. I should not be defined by the clothes I wear, the brand of shoes on my feet. These things are the millstones which weigh heavily in my suitcase. I need to be less anxious about my stuff and more about my character. How am I loving? How do I help others? How do I care? How do I embody the values that I preach about in my ministry? It is in these how statements that my main concerns should be directed towards. Best of all- these items weigh nothing in my suitcase. Blessings